Black Star Riders recently stormed into the top 10 of the Official UK Album Chart with their new album Heavy Fire. Who said that rock music is dead?

Tracks from Black Star Riders critically acclaimed third album have been in heavy rotation on the likes of BBC Radio 2 and Planet Rock Radio, among others. It is of therefore of no surprise that tonight’s show at the O2 Academy Newcastle is packed to the proverbial rafters.

The sound of police sirens resonates throughout the room and smoke canisters fire into the air as the band are ushered onto the stage to a warm Geordie welcome. It doesn’t take long for the band to delve into their latest offering, kicking off the show with the title track from the record.

Ricky Warwick recently explained the concept behind the track “Heavy Fire” stating – Only fools would believe that rock n roll can rejuvenate a world in the throes of a collapsing civilisation that’s coming under heavy fire from all asunder. But what if the would-be fools are right?” Of course, this is quite a poignant notion for reflection upon during these troubled times. 

Tonight Black Star Riders set comes primed with an arsenal of hard hitting anthems including the likes of “Bloodshot”, “All Hell Breaks Loose” and “Killer Instinct” from the band’s first two albums respectfully. 

Of course, there is plenty of room for tracks from the Heavy Fire album like their hard rocking second single “Testify or Say Goodbye”; the band choosing to include almost half of the record included in the show. “When The Night Comes In” is a particular standout moment, its catchy hooks and huge chorus really grab your attention. The additional backing vocals on the song from Damon Johnson and Robbie Crane really compliment the voice of Ricky Warwick. 

The chemistry in this all-star band of brothers is just perfect. Ricky Warwick is the quintessential rock front man; he was born to take this role. The guitar partnership of Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson play off each other all night long with their distinctive twin part guitar harmonies featuring throughout, whilst the rhythm section of Robbie Crane (bass) and Jimmy DeGrasso (drums) hold down a devastating groove.

One takeaway point from tonight’s show being that there is a lot less emphasis placed upon the band’s roots and heritage. Unlike during previous Black Star Riders shows only one Thin Lizzy number is included in the set, that being “The Boys Are Back In Town”. However, this is not a bad thing and is more of a testament to the strength of the band’s ever growing catalogue of original material.

The band continue to roll out their hits as they head towards the closing numbers of their set. DeGrasso leads the band into a fist-pumping rendition of “Kingdom of the Lost”, before transitioning straight into the anthemic “Bound For Glory” and set closer “Finest Hour”, during which the crowd hang on every word. Tonight there is no encore, but rather the band delivered a no messing, 90 minute set of their distinctive brand of crowd-pleasing good old fashioned rock and roll. 

Ricky Warwick declares that this may be the best night of the tour so far, and the Tyneside audience is most certainly in agreement. With each album and tour, Black Star Riders continue to go from strength to strength. With the band’s third album now under their belt, Black Star Riders have established themselves as one of the premiere hard rock groups on the circuit. 

Black Star Riders
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Event Date: 10-MAR-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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